As you will know by now, Damon Albarn helped make an opera called “Dr. Dee”, based on the life of John Dee, the doctor and personal advisor of Queen Elizabeth I. The piece was premiered last summer at the Manchester International Festival, and on 8th May, EMI will release the album with the same title, featuring Albarn's compositions for the opera. Thanks to the good people of NPR, we can now listen to the whole album.
The 18 tracks are postcards described by Albarn as “strange pastoral folk”, which becomes especially clear on songs like “The Marvelous Dream”, featuring handclaps. There's a starring role for the choir (celestial on “Oh Spirit Animate Us”), the record sometimes sounds like a conventional soundtrack (“Edward Kelley”), and even the interludes are quite substantial (“Coronation” and its display of strings).